August 24 2009, 10:17 AM
News reports abound: Laid-off and underemployed workers across the nation are giving up on their downsized careers and going back to college. It seems to be the era of the non-traditional student, guys like Dusty Alves, a 45-year-old father of three who worked as a software salesman until he was laid off in the spring. He's now taking out loans for classes at Metropolitan State College of Denver in hopes of finding a "recession-proof" job as a crime scene investigator after he graduates. Colorado, after all, is still feeling the pinch of unemployment, which rose to 7.8 percent in July (via the Denver Business Journal). And that is causing college applications to spike. Take the University of Colorado's graduate program, where applications are up by 11 percent in the last year, reports Boulder's Daily Camera, which points to a national trend in which U.S. graduate schools received a median of 8 percent more applications this year. Enrollment at Colorado State University-Pueblo has climbed by 11 percent, bringing a record number of freshmen to campus this year, according to 5News First. Such situations are causing requests for financial aid to swell at all schools---up by 30 percent, according to The Denver Post. But, 5280 wonders, how long can Colorado colleges remain affordable?